New Delhi: World number one Lee Chong Wei continued his dominance over Peter Gade Christensen in the Super Series events to win the men`s singles title in the inaugural Indian Open badminton championship on Sunday.
The two-time All England champion, Lee prevailed over world number six and third seed Gade 21-12, 12-21, 21-15 in a hard-fought contest to pocket the winner`s prize of USD 15,000 at the Siri Fort Complex.
The capacity crowd present inside the venue could not have asked for better showdown between the two titans of badminton world as both came out with every shot in the book to highlight their supremacy over each other.
Gade`s athleticism was in full display on the court as he did not allow the reigning All England champion Lee to make the clash a one-sided affair.
The 34-year-old Gade, whose passage to the final was a result of lot of hard work coupled with experience, was in his prime form today as on many occassions he retrieved the shuttle from near impossible positions at the back court during the long rallies and also unleashed flurry of smashes, much to the delight of weekend crowd.
Gade was keen to improve his 1-11 head-to-head record against Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lee prior to today`s meeting and after winning the second game with his age-defying fitness, it looked like the Danish shuttler will turn the
clock back on the Malaysian.
But with Lee, securing his lost confidence in the third and final game, it was all about another milestone in his illustrious career.
"Gade played really well today. This complex has proved to be lucky for me. In the second game, I lost my confidence and focus but in the third, I gained it and went on to securing a win," Lee said after winning the match.
"Gade planned everything to perfection today. His fighting spirit, his experience all were on display today. He is a very good player and it is always a pleasure to play
against him," added Lee.
Lee has played Gade 12-time earlier in his career and has lost only once during the 2009 Korea Super Series.
Gade, seemingly disappointed after losing a close tie, said, "It`s been tough match as he is the world number one and full of confidence. He is the best player in the world. If he is self-confidence like this, he is unbeatable. I was leading in the third game at one stage, but he got the momentum back."
"I wish I would have won today. I am proud of my performance. I would again like to be back in Indian for another series and may be for the last time. I am 34
witnessing the end of my career. May be another one and a half year to go and then I`ll stop."
"I want to be 110 per cent and maintain my fitness. I want to bring my best in these last playing years. Olympics is my target if I`ll qualify for that and then I`ll think let`s stop here," Gade added.
In the first game, Gade was up on his feet during the long rallies and opened up a narrow 4-2 lead but Lee reduced the gap with better net-play and finished off the first game in style with a drop at 21-12.
Gade then showed his age-defying fitness in the second game to level scores at. He widened the gap with his controlled long rallies and did not allow Lee to make a comeback into the game.
The third and final game was no different as both players indulged in long rallies and drop shots to increase the lead in their favour. Lee, after initially being locked at 8-8, broke away with big strides to extend the lead to 13-10 and then 19-14 to win the match in the presence of Sports Minsiter of India Ajay Maken.
"I played both attacking and patient game. I can`t be both at the same stage. He was playing too well in the final game. He was shaken when I was leading in the decider but he got his confidence back and came out victorious. He is way above everyone else at the moment," Gade said.
Meanwhile, in an all-Indonesian affair in the mixed doubles final, Tantowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir defeated Fran Kurniawan and Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth 21-18, 23-21. Tantowi and Liliyana beat their countrymen in 43 minutes in the first super series final of the day. This is Indonesia`s first Super Series title of the season.
The last time Indonesia won a Super Series event was in November last year when Taufik Hidayat clinched the men`s singles title in the French Super Series.